Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

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  • Udhayan C C asked: India had a border with Afghanistan which is now with PoK. Why can’t we reclaim it by force?

    Priyanka Singh replies: The Wakhan Corridor in the Badakhshan province separates Afghanistan from Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).The corridor is approximately140 miles long and between 10-40 miles wide. Besides PoK, it shares border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, China, Tajiskistan and is thus of immense strategic value.

    The strategic significance of PoK cannot be denied in the present context and it is absolutely justified that India should reclaim PoK, but probably not by force. India’s stance on PoK has not been very forthcoming in the past so many years. Compulsions at the international level coupled with a rather defensive approach at the domestic level have meant that claims over PoK have not been adequately highlighted as part of the overall Kashmir issue. Hence, before we start thinking in terms of reclaiming our territory by force, a lot needs to be done on the policy front. We need to reshape and strengthen our policy on PoK which supports our legitimate claim on PoK. There is need to create awareness regarding India’s claim over PoK, not only at the international level, but also to a certain extent at the domestic level. Resorting to use of force without exploring all other possibilities would be unwarranted.

    More importantly, India’s claim on PoK should not be confined solely to strategic interests in Afghanistan. True, PoK will give India unfettered access to Afghanistan and more importantly to Central Asian markets. However, the strategic dimension should be preceded by the legal claim, which is that PoK is an integral part of India currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

    Azad Kashmir elections and Pakistan’s hypocrisy

    Pakistan needs to practice greater respect for individual rights and allow indigenous political outfits to participate in the political processes in PoK.

    September 13, 2011

    Pakistan Occupied Kashmir : Changing the Discourse

    Pakistan Occupied Kashmir : Changing the Discourse
    • Publisher: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
      2011

    The report brings out key facts relating to the history of PoK and analyses the prevailing political situation in the region. The report aims to disseminate information on PoK, inform public opinion and create awareness on a crucial issue which has been largely ignored.

    • ISBN 81-86019-90-1 ,
    • Price: ₹. 175/-
    • E-copy available
    2011

    Arnab Dasgupta asked: Why Pakistan does not face the same situation in the POK as India does in J&K? Is it only religion that protects it or something else?

    Priyanka Singh replies: First of all, it is incorrect to assume there are no problems for Pakistan in the PoK (AJK and Gilgit Baltistan). There is simmering unrest in the PoK and a great deal of discontent amongst the people against Pakistan. There are nationalist groups who are demanding independence from Pakistan’s control over the region. Due to Pakistan’s deliberate strategy of not allowing these groups to flourish and denying them the right of expression, the leaders of such groups are forced to flee their homeland and operate from outside PoK, majority of them being based in Europe and US. The region has been kept under closed wraps largely beyond the reach of media attention. After the earthquake of 2005 when international relief poured in PoK, the ground realities including the existence of militant training camps were taken note of by the outside world.

    However, the nature of problems which India faces in J&K is quite different from that of PoK. The biggest of all is the cross border militancy in J&K unleashed by Pakistan for more than two decades. Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism against India lies at the core of the problems which the GOI faces in J&K. Popular sentiments resulting from governance issues have at times been tapped and manipulated by Pakistan to sponsor terrorism in J&K.

    Ethnicity and culture rather than religion bears upon the state of affairs in PoK. The demographic composition of the region has been tampered by Pakistan to reduce the majority of shias into a minority. Sectarian clashes between the people have led to violent incidents thus serving Pakistan’s purpose behind divisive politics. This has led to further disaffection in PoK gravely hurting the sensitivities of people on culture and origin.

    India provides fair democratic processes in J&K which allow dissidence, debate and discourse. In the absence of basic rights and liberties, the possibility of street protests and demonstrations in PoK are far fetched. The political processes in PoK are farce- designed merely to strengthen Pakistan’s unlawful control on the region.

    Revisiting China’s Kashmir Policy

    China’s moves concerning Kashmir evoke apprehension regarding retrogressive changes in its Kashmir policy, designed to give it a hold over India. The best case scenario for China is that the Kashmir issue is never resolved; and if this issue inches towards any kind of resolution, that China should be considered a party to the Kashmir dispute.

    November 01, 2010

    Chinese Activities in PoK: High Time for India to Put its Act Together

    A recent New York Times report that 11,000 soldiers of the Peoples’ Liberation Army have been stationed in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the PoK, carries important implications for India. For India to put forth its legitimate claim to the whole of Kashmir, the time is now or else, never.

    September 09, 2010

    Constitutional Impasse in Gilgit-Baltistan (Jammu and Kashmir): The Fallout

    The legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir that is under Pakistani occupation, has remained undefined in successive Pakistani constitutions. Pakistan governs the region with ad hoc presidential ordinances, resulting in transitory political arrangements. It was Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who first introduced the so-called Northern Areas Governance Order of 1994, after shelving the draconian and inhumane Frontier Crimes Regulation, with which Pakistan ruled the region like a colony.

    May 2010

    A Salami Slicing Solution

    Under the deal that was worked out in the back channel, the LoC would have remained a de facto and not a de jure border, something that would keep alive Pakistan's irredentist claims over Jammu and Kashmir.

    May 03, 2010

    Islamization versus Talibanization: Is Pakistan Drifting Towards ‘Lebanonization’?

    The February 2009 Swat deal between the Taliban and the Pakistan Government, the current Pakistani Army offensive against Taliban strongholds in various areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the Talibani response to those operations through terror attacks in various Pakistani cities, sharply underline the clear and present threat to Pakistan.

    November 2009

    Militant Training Camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir: An Existential Threat

    Investigations into Mumbai's 26/11 attack made startling revelations about the militant training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The Mumbai perpetrators started from Baitul-Mujahideen in Muzaffarabad, the capital of the so-called ‘Azad Kashmir’, and headed for Mumbai via Karachi. They underwent specialized training in PoK for an extended period before the attack.

    May 2009

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